Visionaries John Boles and John Chapman saw a need to bring God’s people together in worship. In 1932, Deacons Boles and Chapman organized the Central Baptist Church. Reverend Nixon served as the church’s first pastor holding services in a rented house in what was then called “Science Alley.” The house was later converted into an open building for worship. Reverend Hooks succeeded Nixon, but it wasn’t until 1935, under the leadership of Reverend L. M. Hampton, that the first edifice of Central Baptist Church was built.
Reverend M. J. Odom became the pastor of Central in 1948. During his tenure, the church purchased property and moved from Science Alley to 1515 Huger Street in 1954. Reverend Odom served faithfully until his resignation in 1963.
In 1964, Reverend Walter Hollis was installed as pastor and served faithfully until his retirement due to failing health. During his pastorate, the church experienced numerical growth that necessitated a move to a larger place to worship. The search began, and the church was blessed with our present site. On September 11, 1974, the members ceremoniously marched to the new location at 3000 River Drive. The mortgage burning ceremony was held in July 1978.
Reverend Ronald D. Barton was installed as our sixth pastor in 1983. Again, the congregation prospered both spiritually and in membership. Reverend Barton was instrumental in the renovation of the educational building and the purchase of the fellowship house. He served as our pastor until 1990 when he accepted a call to serve as pastor of his home church, Shady Oak Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
Reverend William F. Sherman assumed leadership of the church on October 1, 1990. The church continued to prosper, burned another mortgage, and acquired additional property. Reverend Sherman developed in our members a broader Biblical knowledge of God’s word. He was very instrumental in creating new ministries. On December 31, 1995, Reverend Sherman resigned to accept the call to pastor the Mount Carmen Baptist Church in Clearwater, Florida.
Reverend Winslow Harrison, our own Associate Minister, honorably and faithfully served as interim pastor for one year as we sought God’s guidance in sending us a leader.
God answered our prayers, and on January 1, 1997, the Reverend Ricky Ray Ezell, Sr., became the eighth pastor of the Central Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Reverend Ezell, over forty new ministries have been formed to serve and minister to the members and community. These ministries include our Senior Citizens Ministry, Evangelism Ministry, Summer Enrichment Program, Youth Bible Study, Men’s Bible Study, Academic Honors, Computer Lab, Endowment Fund, Couples Ministry, Catering Ministry, Recreation Ministry, Compassion & Grief Ministry, Health & Wellness Ministry, Veterans Ministry, Media Ministry, and Respite Ministry.
Membership flourished, and for the first time in Central’s history, two Sunday worship services are held to accommodate members and the community. Our services are broadcast via streaming video each Sunday spreading the Gospel on a local and national level. The blessing of the Lord is upon the ministry of Central Baptist Church and is clearly evident in our spiritual, numerical, and financial growth.
Central currently owns the property spanning the entire block of 3000 River Drive. The church formed a 501(c)(3) Community Development Cooperation and placed all existing properties on 3000 River Drive under the umbrella of the Community Development Corporation. This includes five (5) rental homes, two (2) duplexes, our former sanctuary, educational building, and a fellowship hall.
Reverend Ezell led the Central Baptist Church Family in the purchase of approximately six acreas of land for a new Ministry complex to better serve the Midlands Community in 2004. The additional land purchased makes the church one of the largest land owners in the proximity of downtown Columbia. The ground breaking service was held in 2004 for a new four-million dollar ministry complex with a new sanctuary, administrative/educational building, and a family life center. On August 7, 2005, the first Sunday morning worship service was held in our new sanctuary located at 3625 Clement Road with dedicatory worship services held on September 18, 2005.
The exponential growth of Central Baptist Church in the last 15 years is truly proof that Central lives on the Word of God and its church theme…“Reclaiming our Families through Patience, Perseverance and Prayer.”
On November 09, 2014, we celebrated 82 years of giving God praises!
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